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Tennis From Milan • Chung Clinches Semifinal Spot At NextGen ATP Finals, Rublev To Face Shapovalov

Photo by @nextgenfinals via Twitter

 

 

Chung clinches semifinal spot at NextGen ATP Finals, Rublev to face Shapovalov on Thursday

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Hyeon Chung is the first player through to the semifinals at the first-ever NextGen ATP Finals in Milan. Chung clinched his spot in the last four when he defeated Andrey Rublev 4-0, 4-1, 4-3(1) during round-robin action on Wednesday afternoon. The 21-year-old South Korean improved to 2-0 this week after just one hour and eight minutes.

 

“The score looks easy, but it was not easy on the court,” Chung explained. “Every point was a fight,. I’m trying to play my best, focus on every point. We had played before, so we knew how to play each other. I was just trying to focus on every ball.”

 

Whereas Chung is through to the semis, Rublev must go back to the drawing board.

 

Thursday’s schedule will see Rublev and Denis Shapovalov battle for the second semifinal spot out of Group A. With both players on a 1-1 record through two contests, this showdown is a virtual quarterfinal title (fellow Group A member Gianluigi Quinzi has been mathematically eliminated). Although ranking points are not available at this inaugural end-of-season tournament, it is still a high-stakes match for the first-ever encounter between Rublev and Shapovalov. And for one of them, it will mark the end of a breakout season.

 

The 20-year-old Rublev has climbed to No. 37 in the rankings thanks to his first career ATP title in Umag as a lucky loser and a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open. Rublev slumped thereafter, but he still finished the 2017 campaign with 18 of his 30 career ATP-level match victories under his belt. Rublev began his week in Milan with a 1-4, 4-0, 4-3(3), 0-4, 4-3(3) defeat of Quinzi before falling to Chung.

 

Like his opponent, Shapovalov soared into prominence this summer. The 18-year-old Canadian enjoyed a miracle run to the Rogers Cup semifinals–upsetting Rafael Nadal along the way–and he advanced to the U.S. Open fourth round as a qualifier. Up to No. 51 in the world, Shapovalov opened in Milan with a 1-4, 4-3(5), 4-3(4), 4-1 loss to Chung but he recovered to eliminate Quinzi 4-1, 4-1, 3-4(5), 4-3(5).

 

In Group B, meanwhile, Borna Coric is 2-0, Karen Khachanov is 1-1, Daniil Medvedev is 1-1, and Jared Donaldson is 0-2.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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